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Brooklyn Restaurant Celebrates Mandela Day

Brooklyn Restaurant Celebrates Mandela Day
South African eatery will honor Mandela with drinks, music, and dancing.

Nelson Mandela turns 95 today, and one Brooklyn restaurant is celebrating his life and legacy.

Madiba restaurant in Fort Greene is owned by South African native Mark Henegan. Henegan opened the restaurant 14 years ago to feel closer to his home. He also wanted to bring a taste of South Africa to his Brooklyn neighborhood with authentic food, music, and artwork.

According to Henegan the restaurant’s name has special significance. “It's the clan name of the Mandela family,” he said, “It’s ‘son of Africa’, ‘father of a nation’. Madiba is the name that just embraces all of what Mandela stands for.”

Madiba pays homage to Mandela in more than just its name. Portraits and news clippings of the former South African president cover the restaurant’s walls.

Henegan said Mandela is a daily inspiration. “Nelson Mandela made it possible for a beautiful country like South Africa to go through a peaceful transition,” he said, “and it’s a great inspiration to wake up every morning to, he's like my guru.”

Madiba will celebrate Mandela Day with free drinks, South African music, and dancing.

The restaurant’s celebration is open to all. “Everybody should just do something to contribute to Mandela and to celebrate his legacy,” Henegan said.  

Over the years Madiba has hosted members of Nelson Mandela’s family as well as other prominent South African leaders like former archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Nelson Mandela was hospitalized in June with a lingering lung ailment, and is reported to be in critical but stable condition.